OERs: resources that educators can reuse in teaching, or that learners can independently discover and learn from? #ukoer
This is a pretty good definition of OER, and as anyone familiar with the territory can tell you, that is no small feat. But what is even more important, is to define what we *really* mean by OER. What is the really valuable aspect of OER? This became the consequent topic of discussion on Twitter, and I thought I'd try and capture a few discussion points in this post.
Ostephens (@ostephens) stirred the pot by tweeting: how important is 'open' to the learner? Copyrighted material just as easy to learn from as public domain.
I wholeheartedly agree with this, especially since my OER channel of interest, iTunes U, serves out mostly copyrighted material. But it is free, and freely available, and so it can be considered OER (though some would disagree). Whether or not iTunes U is agreed to be 'OER', few would disagree that iTunes U is comprised of learning material of real value. Tony Hirst then tweeted the phrase 'freely available edu resources' (how about the acronym FAER -- hmm, not sure).
John Robertson (@KavuBob) then proposed: 'free likely to be most important to learner, but oer & CC licence about added value/ possibility (& use in open ed?)'. We eventually agreed that instructors looking for something to reuse would want 'open', while individual learners would simply be happy with 'free.' But even instructors can reuse copyrighted material in teaching as long as they are careful to stay legal.
At that point I was thinking 'let's take this discussion into Google+ where we have more room to type!'
Below is a snippet of our Twitter conversation. What do you think? If 'open educational resources' does not really capture it, what would you suggest?
Terese Bird, Learning Technologist and SCORE Fellow